Whether you’ve always been a remote company or you started remote work due to the pandemic, there are some things you can do to overcome any challenges with a workforce that’s out of the office. Here are some of the top management strategies all remote companies should have in place.
What Are the Best Ways to Manage Remote Workers?
According to a Gallup poll, around 90% of remote workers want to maintain their work-at-home status moving forward. Some would accept a hybrid approach, but many employees state they’ll seek a new position if forced back into an office setting full-time.
Many employers also realize the cost savings of having people work remotely. Less sick days and space needed are just two of the obvious benefits.
However, figuring out ways to manage people from a distance is a bit more difficult. Here are the top management strategies any company with at least part-time remote workers should consider.
One of the most significant hurdles to staying connected with remote work is that people aren’t in the office interacting. The face-to-face lunchtime walks or morning greetings over the water cooler don’t occur.
As a company, you must create ways for people to connect virtually. Host a Zoom call in the mornings and make sure everyone is on the same page with upcoming projects and changes in the business.
Managing your mobile personnel is often a matter of finding the right tools for the job. The majority of workers use their smartphones at least some of the time to access projects and work email. The right software helps make sure everyone’s on the same page and projects get updated in real time.
You can also use time tracking to help people be more productive. Keep track of the tasks requiring extra attention and figure out if you have clients who need replacing. Some are so needy they wind up costing far more in time and effort than they bring into your firm.
Trust Your Staff
People who enjoy working remotely have some measure of independence. Many are self-starters and more than capable of filling 40 hours a week with relevant tasks. You don’t want your staff to feel as though you don’t trust them to do their best work.
Hire the right people, training accordingly and then give them the freedom to choose the order of their projects or what needs their attention most. Give them tools, such as communication forums to ask questions and turn them loose. They’ll accomplish far more than if you’re sitting over their shoulder tracking every move.
Businesses should also realize employees often resent measures meant to keep them “in line.” Someone who is already working as hard as they can and putting pride into their efforts is going to feel as though they’re being punished when you install babysitter software. Instead, give them tools and trust them to do the work you hired them to do. If they don’t, you can always end the employer/employee relationship.
Experts predict remote opportunities increased 4% with a projection of 25% of all positions by 2023. The number of people working from home continues to grow, and employers are looking for ways to reward top performers for their ongoing dedication and hard work.
In the office, you might have weekly meetings where you shout out about different workers’ accomplishments and pass out gift cards. Treat your remote workers the same way. Meet regularly and praise significant contributions. Send virtual gift cards they can cash in for anything they’d like. Look for ways to celebrate the input each person brings to your team.
Retain Top Workers
What is the secret sauce that makes some employees stay with a company, while others flee? How can you retain your top workers instead of constantly looking for new ones? Your company culture may be the key, but sometimes small additions can create a tipping point where people don’t want to leave.
A brand offering extra time off for new parents might retain an excellent staff member because they don’t want to leave and lose the perk. A fund for a new puppy or kitten might appeal to those who are animal lovers. Look for the perks you can provide that bigger corporations don’t.
Of course, pay rates matter, too. Do your best to stay competitive with the market. Seek the best benefits you can afford. Find ways to add perks for your workers and they’ll come to realize you care about them as individuals and appreciate their talents.
Set Communication Objectives
Remote teams often struggle with communication and connection. Your best approach is to set some standards. Have staff check in at least once a week and update managers on where they are with a particular project.
Managers should spend an hour with each employee at least once a month. You can phone them or set up a virtual meeting via video conferencing. Encourage short notes and instant messaging to have questions answered on the fly. The more tools you offer and more clearly you define communication expectations, the more open workers will be.
Look for Gaps
Spend time auditing your processes. Are there areas where communication falls flat? Do an exit interview when someone leaves your employ. Were there issues that caused them to want to leave? Once you have details, you can fix some things and improve them to keep the rest of your workforce intact.
Look for places where you can improve. Set a goal to make your company’s remote work better each month. Watch what other brands with remote workers do. With a bit of effort and with some input from employees, you’ll run one of the most effective remote teams around.
This guest post was authored by Eleanor Hecks
Eleanor is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.